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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Charon, Up Close

Charon, Up Close

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, September 23, 2016/Categories: natural history, photography, space science, environment


The New Horizons probe cruized past Pluto last year and has now sent back a full-frame, high-resolution image of Pluto's largest moon, Charon.

According to NASA, the view of Charon was photographed just before the New Horizons closest approach on July 14, 2015. Charon is 754 miles across and details as small as 1.8 miles are visible. The image combines blue, red, and infrared images taken by the spacecraft's Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC) with the colors processed to best highlight the variation of surface properties across the large moon. The reddish material in the polar region is methane that escaped from Pluto’s atmosphere and drifted onto Charon's pole.

More surprises should appear as the New Horizons computer continues downloading data and images from the fly-by for the remainder of 2016.



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